Friday, 4 September 2009

Harrogate Quilt Show

On a lighter note than my last posting, I took a trip to Harrogate Quilt Show yesterday. I was impressed by the quilts, which in my opinion were more interesting than the NEC. I know it is only my opinion, but I saw quite a number of quilts that had taken a 'Fresh' approach to traditional quilting and others that were very inovative.

I bought yet more novelty prints. These grand-children of mine better appreciate the effort that I am putting into the latest project.

As Phil is away at a Railway Exhibition this weekend and I have the 5 redcoats to take care of, we are having a 'Girlie' weekend catching up on a bit of sewing and eating all our 'fave' foods. Washed down with a bottle of red, we may or may not stick to a scant quarter seam, but we will have enjoyed the experience. I hope you are also enjoying your weekend. Do take plenty of breaks and stretch those shoulder muscles that all too often tense while at the machine.

Size is Everything

As an update to my last blog regarding the size of Fat Quarters, I can now report that the company who sold me 30 fat quarters measuring smaller than a quarter yard have now got back to me with the quote 'The fat quarters of a yard are always 45 x55 cm in Holland'. I therefore have no option to name the company as Van Rooyen. His selection of novelty fabrics is second to none, but if he intends to sell in the UK, I and quite a few other people will agree with me that he should abide by EEC regulations and sell in metres and to the correct measurement. 17 1/2 inches is not half a yard, let alone half a metre.

What gives him the right to come to the UK and sell to us short measure and MORE EXPENSIVE than the majority of other retailers.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Festival Notes

I know its been ages since I posted. Where time goes is a mystery to me. A few of the girls from our Tuesday morning group took a trip to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC and had a very enjoyable day.

Ferret had the most wonderful display of quilts, some we had already seen and a few superb new ones. she had even taken her longarm and when able was demonstrating that YES her quilts are all done using hand control, not programmed. All power to her elbow! I particularly liked the mother and daughter small quilts. It was especially nice to see the mother finished, as she had just started when she conducted a workshop for us in June. I hope that Phil will put the photos up on the website for everyone to enjoy, although I know Ferret already has them on hers. Please remember to credit any photos of other peoples quilts with THEIR name. These quilts take hours of designing and construction.

A cautionary note to all retailers out there. Is a fat quarter a fat quarter? When I cut a fat quarter I ensure that my measurements are slightly OVER the quarter, but on returning home with a few purchases (things I don't sell) I noticed that some of the fat quarters measured short. You may think this is a discrepancy between Imperial (inches) and Metric (metres), but NO these were even short on the Imperial scale. Should I name and shame? At the moment I am waiting until everyone gets home from the show to complain to those involved. Fabric is too expensive now to be given short measure.

Lady Longarm had a trial run this weekend and with a little more practice we should be up and away.

Monday, 27 July 2009

A Quick Update

Hello folks,

Well the lady should be installed tomorrow. It is 11.00 pm now and we have only just finished putting the basic frame up. Tomorrow should see her fully operational - but who knows. I had hoped for the minimalist look, but the more we do the more seems to end up joining me in the quilting room. I hope I can get around the machine when we've finished. I must go to bed as I've a workshop tomorrow and after the busy weekend I've had I am thoroughly wacked. Also the men descend on us tomorrow for a full week of modelling.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Waiting for Lady Longarm

Hi All,

The quilting room is now all plastered out and as I speak, the other half is painting. He's not impressed that I asked for brilliant white and is now suffering with snow blindness. With a few quilts hung up (another job he doesn't know about) it will look great. When he's finished splashing the paint around I'll help him lay the floor and then the big lady longarm can be installed. I can't wait to have a play. I counted up the other day 6 quilts of my own and several charity quilts (that's Quilts for Comfort), so I'll have plenty to practice on. Better order some more wadding.

I'll have to live with the chest freezer in there too. I got a bit fed up with tools on the top of it, so specifically asked for it to join me. There must be a whole load of rubbish in the bottom. The dogs will have a great time with 'Dog Stew'. I'll also have a big box of stained glass, (not a problem) and a very dilapidated sofa, which needs re-upholstering. Does anyone know an upholsterer who is cheap?

A bit of bad news - there's always something to spoil your day isn't there? The AGA went out. It couldn't happen at a worse time as we have a B&B guest on Monday for the week. We are supposed to be on automatic top up with the oil company, but this is the second time it has happened and I'm fuming. However the kitchen is a lot cooler to work in at the moment. Luckily we have a gas hob, so we'll just have to live on beans (only joking - there's always the barbie).

I really enjoyed doing the Fireworks pattern, by Alice Wilhoit of Texas USA, and I'm hoping to run a workshop on it later in the year. Anyone interested? I'm having a play with circles at the moment. My daughter wants a quilt and I thought I would do something a little different. I'm hoping to make a workshop from that. Watch this space. I haven't learned how to add photos yet, so bear with me.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Beware of Sheep and Sewing Machines

Hi folks.

A few years ago I got to know one of our local farmers. I needed an extra bed or two for guests and he had a B&B in our village. His wife sadly passed away and since then had not been able to provide the breakfast. (men and kitchens - what is it?) Anyway after negotiating we arranged to do the breakfast if he would provide the beds. Around here most of the farmers have arable land, but this chap has sheep. I have always wanted to get involved in Spring Lambing so asked if he ever needed help. At first he was doubtful whether I was serious, but after some persuading he said, "Let's 'ave a look at yer ands" and then "Aye they'll do, nice and small." That was the start of something amazing. Nature is a wondrous thing.

Last year, I got the phone call and rushed to help. He had a Gimmer (his term for a first time mum) who was in labour, but free in the barn. What usually happens is that on first signs of labour, he brings them into a nursery unit where they are confined to a small area with straw and food and water available. This way he is able to catch them if they are in trouble. Anyway this one had escaped 'Quality Control' and we had to catch her first. It took four of us to round her up and as luck had it she came my way. (She probably eyed us all and said to herself that I was the least experienced of the lot and therefore her best chance of escape.) How wrong could she be. I made a dive and grabbed her thick fleece. On my way down to the floor, I banged my shoulder on a hay rick, fastened to the post I was stood near. We both ended up in a heap. My shoulder was mighty painful, but the Gimmer's needs were more, so I brushed myself down and got down to the job in hand and safely delivered her lamb. Isn't if funny, I can't remember the sex of the baby. Mind you there were a few that year.

A couple of days later, I went to check on mother and baby, with a shoulder that was every shade of blue, purple and black. I had obviously really hurt myself. However I didn't feel much pain and brushed it aside. The bruising died down, going through a change in the colour spectrum as is usual and I thought I was back to normal. That was until just before Christmas last year. I had been to the Quilt Market in Houston Texas and had a wonderful time. I returned with a renewed energy and so many ideas, I was positively buzzing.

So excited to see the Girls on Tuesday morning I was helping to set them up with their machines, I grabbed a machine off the floor and lifted it onto a table. I had done it a hundred times before, but this time just felt something pop in my upper arm and thought I had pulled a muscle. Making a concious decision to be careful, I thought nothing more about it.

Over the next few months my arm, shoulder and back all started to hurt and after a while I went to the doctor, who referred me to a physio. I have now been going to him and also a chiropractor (a woman with healing hands, who can tell where you hurt just by feeling) for several months. I have been manipulated, tweeked, pulled, pushed and massaged, from my finger tips to my neck, and although I am getting better it is a long and painful process, which is by no means over. It is the opinion that the Sheep started it and the Sewing Machine finished it off. So girls be careful - remember you are handling a Lethal Weapon.

PS - Phil now does the carrying of machines for both myself and our ladies, whenever possible.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Back to Normality

Well I say normality, but I'm not sure anything in our house is ever normal. After the weekend I counted up that I had done 15 loads of washing and 9 of those needed ironing too. Everything is still needing to be put away, but my back aches so I'm sitting on my bum again writing this.

Thanks girls for the cake shop idea, it has been thought of, but a little bigger set up would be required and the lolly isn't available at the moment. Besides which my kitchen is like an oven in itself in the summer as we cook by AGA. I melt after only an hour in there.

Anyway back to today, Tuesday. Does anyone like hedgehogs? I love the little things and found a baby a week last Thursday, which seemed to be suffering. I put it in a box, gave it some cat food and water and left it in the shade. It was probably suffering with heat exhaustion as Thursday it was very hot. Anyway this little mite had 3 ticks, which I successfully removed and then let the little fella go, putting him (or her - not learned how to sex a hedgehog yet) in a custom made wooden home down in our orchard. As the dustbin was getting full I just left the box at the side of it - BIG MISTAKE. As soon as I let our 5 dogs out (bouncy red setters - but not stupid) one of them decided to investigate. She is very food orientated and the smell of cat food was just too much. Ferret was the first to notice the flees on her and managed to crush one. I immediately got out the flea treatment and hoped I had avoided an infestation.

Today was our regular Tuesday morning workshop which is a do as you wish morning with various project going on. After lunch I was just about to start some sewing for myself when I noticed two fleas on the same dog as before, so instead of stitching I ended up bathing or should I say showering all 5 dogs. Any of you out there with animals will know that they all get fleas from time to time, but when you've got 5 hairy dogs, getting rid is a many pronged attack. When they are all dry I have to treat them with Frontline. Here come 2 more loads of towels for the washing machine. (we have a seperate washing machine for doggy things). It's 5 pm now and I'm no further on than I was at 9 am this morning. Does anyone else have days like mine?